Reflection: Location, Environment, and Writing

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is that I am better able to work on my stories in some places and environments than I am in others.  I know, it kind of makes sense.  I mean, our environment does affect the way we think.  If it’s quiet, we can think clearer.  For some people, music helps them calm down and think clearer, but for others, it may just be a distraction.

To help my writing, I’ve learned to pay attention to where I do my best thinking, where I get my best inspiration, and where I can best do my actual writing.  I’ve found that the answer is not always what I’d expect.

For one thing, I found that I can really focus on writing, and get a lot done, when I’m riding on the train.  I never figured out why, though.  The trains really don’t seem like the kind of place I would be able to focus.  They are always moving, and the conductors and people getting on and off can be a distraction, yet when I used to commute on the train, it’s where I got most of my actual writing done.

I find I think best when I’m moving around or pacing.  If I’m ever a little stuck, I get out of my chair and walk around the room a bit.  If I’m really stuck, I go outside, where the fresh air helps me even more.  I guess moving around does get the blood flowing which gets the brain moving.

And then there’s my relationship with music.  Usually, I am not a music enthusiast, and do not consider music to be a form of entertainment (in and of itself at least).  I’ve found that music can have an effect on me, but it’s usually just a distraction.  I generally prefer silence.

However, the right song, played in the right place can really help me calm down, relax, or focus my thoughts.  It’s not a form of entertainment, but a way to affect the environment.  However, I find it only works if I am in complete control of it; I’m either streaming it from a YouTube video on the internet or using my own MP3 files.  In other words, no radio for me!  I might end up with a song that’s just a distraction, or puts me in the wrong mood.

Lately, I have accumulated a rather large collection of video game soundtracks (almost 300 games!), pretty much by accident.  My favorite game stores like GOG.com and the humble bundles (the DRM-free ones at least) like to include these soundtracks free with the purchase, plus I find a number that simply choose to release the soundtracks for free.

The good thing about video game soundtracks is that they are usually designed for atmosphere.  I can find the music from a section of a video game with a particular mood, and end up listening to a song to help me feel that mood a bit better.

And then there are places that help get inspiration.  These are probably the rarest and most difficult to find, but there are places that just make me feel inspired, where the ideas flow quickly and easily.  Sadly, this never seems to last, and after a few visits, the place doesn’t seem so special.  About these, I have Rule 136: A place of continued inspiration is a true rarity.  Never forget such a place.

And that is all I have to say today.  I’ll have a story up Friday, at least, assuming my Internet connection improves.  White Rakogis, signing off!

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